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-   -   Victoria Falls? (https://www.fodors.com/community/africa-and-the-middle-east/victoria-falls-658043/)

julia1 Nov 10th, 2006 05:04 PM

Victoria Falls?
 
Planning a trip to South Africa. Has anyone visited Victoria Falls? What do yoy think, is it a worthwhile add-on? Thinking of spending 2-3 nights there. Is that too long? Any information much appreciated.

Julie

afrigalah Nov 10th, 2006 05:25 PM

Julie,

Yes, a worthwhile 'add-on' though I am a little doubtful about tacking it on just to South Africa. I've always combined Vic Falls with safaris in Botswana and Zimbabwe. That said, it's a sight not to be missed, and there is certainly enough to do in and around the town of Victoria Falls to occupy a couple of days...visit Zambezi NP, sunset cruises on the river (motor boats or canoes), white water rafting, flights over the falls, plus the shopping and 'cultural' stuff that's typical of a tourist town. I'm sure others will list more of the possibilities.

John

santharamhari Nov 10th, 2006 09:58 PM

Julie,

What is your current trip schedule and what time of the year do you plan to visit? Two nights at Vic falls is good.....depending on your entire duration of trip, i guess. You need to deceide if you want to visit the Zambia side or Zim side of the falls.

Hari

julia1 Nov 10th, 2006 10:18 PM

Hello Hari & John,

And thank you for replying! The South Africa trip is the last two weeks in October 2007. It's a gardens and botanicals tour with safari time included. I'd love to add on time in Botswana also but it's a matter of cost for the most part. I've had several proposals from TAs and the costs are staggering - in the range of $2000 per person for 2 nights Victoria Falls and 3 nights Botswana safari! I'd also like to add a few days in Madagascar, but that will probably have to wait for another trip. Please tell me the advantages/disadvantages of the Zambia side vs the Zimbabwe side.

Julie

afrigalah Nov 10th, 2006 10:37 PM

Julie,

Both sides have their pros and cons but I've always been told the best ground views are on the Zimbabwe side. I've never done the Zambian side, though I was very close to it in 2004 when I was leading a group on a Botswana safari (I had done the Zimbabwe side three times before). However, the airline schedules for our particular trip made it a tighter, more rushed visit, and our TA suggested we change over to the Zimbabwe side...so we did. But whichever side you choose, if time allows you can cross to the other side and sample both...and check out the crazy bungee jumpers on the way across the bridge.

John

mkhonzo Nov 11th, 2006 04:15 AM

Julia1.
Since you are traveling up there at the end of October then you must stay in Zimbabwe. The flow of the Zambezi at that time of year causes the falls to dry up on the Zambian side, however there is still a reasonable flow over the cataracts seen from the Zim side.

Also being that time of year the game activity around the Chobe river is astounding, thousands of elephant can be seen throghout the day at the rivers edge.

I would think that you could spend two nights in Vic Falls followed by a two hour drive to Kasane with a two/three nights there for around $1200 - $1500.

Since madagascar is around a five hour flight from SA, it probably is best left for your next trip.

santharamhari Nov 11th, 2006 06:11 AM

Or you can do a good safari in Zimbabwe, itself.....Hwange NP, Mana Pools etc etc., I havent been, but would love to visit one day......i think you can drive to Hwange from Vic Falls....

Hari

atravelynn Nov 11th, 2006 06:57 AM

That staggering cost is because of the additional days in Botswana, not Vic Falls.

If you post your whole itinerary, the Fodor's experts can make a better judgement on including the falls and where in the itinerary it should go.

It's like getting a physical exam for your itinerary.

bridezilla Nov 13th, 2006 02:23 AM

We were at Victoria Falls in mid-September and loved it.
I've written a trip report, so you can read that.
We found that there was more water on the Zimbabwe side, but you can visit both sides, no problem.
We stayed at the Royal Livingstone hotel in Zambia and it was fantastic.

cybor Nov 13th, 2006 08:01 AM

I'm still researching the Falls, myself, but I do believe there may be an additional visa fee when entering Zambia from Zimbabwe - can anyone confirm this?
Sherry

RBCal Nov 13th, 2006 08:30 AM

For US citizens the visa fee is $30 when entering Zimbabwe from Zambia.

Personally, I would just do a day trip to see the falls from Chobe Botswana. It is only an hour away. Once you've seen the falls there isn't much else there and the game viewing is poor at the falls (unless you count baboons as game viewing).

RBCal Nov 13th, 2006 08:31 AM

Sorry the fee is also $30 when entering Zambia from Zimbabwe (single entry, $40 for multiple entry).

matnikstym Nov 13th, 2006 08:49 AM

I was there less than a week ago and the Zim side was fantastic, the most awesome sight. Walked to the end near the Zam side and there was barely a trickle, and this was after a night of rain. Zambia visa is now $100.00 for U.S. citizens, good for three years and from what I saw, they don't have day passes anymore. I recommend staying on the Zim side at Ilala Lodge as it's convenient to the market and path to the falls. I also stayed at the Vic Falls Hotel and didn't care for that hotel. The falls are worth a visit! Entry to the falls is $20.00 U.S. pp

CarlaM Nov 13th, 2006 09:32 AM

Julia,
I was there last Nov and stayed on the Zim side. The information already posted is spot on and I highly recommend the helicopter ride over the falls. They are majestic even in the "low season" from the Zim side.

I have some photos posted here:
www.kodakgallery.com/carlasadventures

cybor Nov 13th, 2006 09:39 AM

Hey Dennis,
Glad you liked Ilala as that's where I'm thinking of staying. It appears to not only be less costly but a bit less sterile than the Vic. Falls Hotel - true?
Got to go read your report for hopefully more details.
Sherry

julia1 Nov 13th, 2006 10:34 AM

Mauryn (bridezilla),

Just read your trip report - fantastic! And looked at your photos - fantastic again! Makes me think I should re-think our whole trip. I'm going to look into staying at the Royal Livingstone in Zambia. Please tell me, did you use Kuoni to organize your entire holiday? Also, please tell me the camera you used on safari?

Julie

raelond Nov 13th, 2006 12:46 PM

We were stayed at the River Club on the Zambia side in late June. The River Club was a wonderful place to stay and the Falls were spectacular. We flew over the Falls from our camp in Botswana and we got some amazing photos from the plane.

afrigalah Nov 13th, 2006 01:25 PM

"...and the game viewing is poor at the falls (unless you count baboons as game viewing)."- RBCal

That can give the wrong impression. Just a few klicks outside VF is Zambezi NP...the entrance is just down the road from my favourite VF hotel/lodge, the A'Zambezi. Game viewing in the park can be magnificent, well worth a look especially if you're just using VF as a sidetrip from South Africa. This shot was taken in the park:
http://www.afrigalah.com/zimimg/Zambezielevenses406.jpg

John


ShayTay Nov 13th, 2006 01:41 PM

I've stayed at Ilala and VF Hotel and actually prefer Ilala, although you should walk over to the VF Hotel and walk through the hotel & grounds. It's quite beautiful and you have a great view of the bridge.

RBCal Nov 13th, 2006 01:43 PM

In comparison to Botswana with its herds of hundreds of elephants I found Victoria Falls to be disappointing.

Also, the Royal Livingstone/Zambezi Sun was okay. However, it is very isolated from town and the prices are outrageous at their restaurants. I much preferred the Zimbabwe side where the Victoria Falls Hotel is within walking distance of the town. The falls are also much more impressive on the Zimbabwe side. What a rip-off that a visa is now $100 for Zambia. In early October it was still $30.


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